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A New King: Inaugurating Resistance Along with a President

I. We have three Pharaohs in our Torah. The first Pharaoh, less memorable, receives Abraham and Sarah and then sends them away. The second, the good Pharaoh, is the one who raises Joseph from imprisoned slave to ruler over all Egypt. Only the third one, who did not know Joseph, is called “melekh chadash,” “a new king” – new because he inaugurated a radically new political order.

February 3, 2017

The King is the Field – Chabad Insights on the Divinity of Creation

During the High Holidays, we strive to fashion our heart to become a dwelling place for God in the physical, earthly realm, a dirah batachtonim. However, the earliest aggadic (storytelling) midrash, Genesis Rabbah (4th or 5th century), taught that “the root/essence of God’s presence was in the lower creatures / `iqar Shekhinah batachtonim haytah.” (19:7)
If the Shekhinah, the indwelling presence of God, was essentially in all creatures, how did we arrive at the idea that the primary dwelling place of God was within the human heart?

September 29, 2016

Bal Taschit: What's Wrong With the Jewish Law Against Destruction and Waste — and How to Fix It

What seems to have been missed in past rabbinic interpretation of bal tashchit is that the rule given in the Torah is both literally and fundamentally about sustainability – about what sustains you: “Don’t destroy the sources that nourish your lives over generations for the sake of a moment’s need, no matter how dire that need is.”

September 8, 2016

Pope Francis’s Encyclical and the Coming of Age of Creation Spirituality

Pope Francis believes that our generation is very much involved in “the pains of childbirth” as we try to learn anew how to cooperate with the Creator, that “God … can also bring good out of the evil we have done” (80) since the Holy Spirit is so powerfully creative. There lies his hope and ours, that we can change our ways, that we are endowed with immense intelligence and creativity, that if we pull out of denial and away from destructive economic systems and relationships and beyond a dulled consciousness anything is possible. Or, I might add, citing eco-philosopher David Orr, “Hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up.” We can go to work, and we must.

July 6, 2015